Here’s a post one of my colleagues recently made on LinkedIn after a long day of prospecting: “Today, I made 114 calls. The first 100 calls resulted in zero meetings. On call 102, I booked a meeting with a VP at a hypergrowth startup. Call 105 resulted in a meeting with one of the largest retailers in Canada. Don't quit too soon.” Boom! This post went viral, generating thousands of likes, shares, and comments as other sales professionals shared their own war stories and words of encouragement. Clearly, my colleague hit a nerve with his fellow sales professionals. It’s easy to see why. In a profession where the rejection rate can often be 90 percent, staying motivated is critical to your long-term success. So, what kind of person would sign up for a job where they are rejected over 90 percent of the time?
One of the biggest challenges for a sales organization is moving upmarket. For example, if you target the small- and medium-sized business market (SMB) and now want to target enterprise customers – that’s where the money is – you need to rethink how you sell. Enterprise and SMB selling are fundamentally different, and each requires its own sales process, metrics, and unique selling skills. At the heart of these differences is size.
Last week, I surveyed 53 sales managers, asking them, among other things, what essential skills their top-performing salespeople possess. Okay, it wasn’t an actual survey. Our team at SRG recently completed rolling out a sales training program from a large sales organization, and I was reviewing my notes from interviews I had with frontline sales managers as part of the customization process. As I reviewed these notes, I started noticing trends.
Early in the sales process, typically during discovery, it’s critical to learn as much about your customer’s issues, concerns, problems, and desires as possible. The better you understand your customer, the more effectively you’ll be able to position your solution as a way of addressing their needs. But often, during a discovery call, customers are reluctant to share information, or they give incomplete answers to your questions.
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted B2B sales teams, but what happens next? As we begin to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, is the significant move to virtual selling going to accelerate? Or will things revert back to the pre-pandemic “normal” of primarily in-person selling? A good place to start is to understand where customers are going to work.
Sales professionals frequently talk about “selling value,” but few know how to focus the conversation on issues that impact value for the buyer. That’s unfortunate because the best way to offset pricing pressure is by identifying, quantifying, and presenting value. Selling value begins with a deep understanding of your customer’s business and how your solution positively impacts it. This can be hard work, but it’s worth it. The creativity and effort you put into analyzing your customer’s business prepare you for the next step: quantifying the tangible and intangible benefits your solution will bring.